So, with Christmas coming, my little blog has been pushed down the the priority list – but I haven’t completely forgotten Drop One/Add One, even if I haven’t been recording anything. I’d like to bump it up the list now, on Christmas Eve, because it’s good for my jumbled brain to record and reflect.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to develop a series of habits based on acceptance, simplicity and mindfulness. I’ve consciously made the effort on the weekends, but it is such a hectic time of the year that I have actually needed and used this perspective during the week, too. That is a good sign, because it means my weekend experiments are starting to become a little more than that!
For Weekend 19, I was trying to add simplicity and accpetance. (I also tried to drop late nights and early mornings, but I’m afraid that wasn’t especially successful!) Interestingly, I found it easier that weekend to remind myself to accept failure or accept things not being perfect than I did to remember to keep things simple. I also realise that both of these perspectives have begun to fade into the background again and this is a timely reminder to myself! I do spend a lot of time fretting about things and a lot of time overcomplicating things! Tonight is performance night for Carols by Candlelight and my group of alto friends and I are having a little picnic before we start. I realise that I have spent the morning, since I first woke up, fretting about the weather (hot, humid and thundery, my most absolutely favourite type of weather…), about all the things I want to get done before I leave and about many other picnic and performance things. I’ve forgotten about it being alright for things not to be perfect. I’ve forgotten that I don’t need to try to work out every foreseeable problem beforehand and that it’s ok for unforeseeable problems to occur. I’ve also forgotten to keep things simple and started trying to work out how to bring more things to the picnic than I had been allocated. That’s a habit I need to get out of. I become over-ambitious and usually either stress myself by rushing around trying to do too much, or feel disappointed in myself because I simply don’t have enough time to do it all. Obviously, I am now going to stick to the original plan only!
Interestingly, my need to make things simpler morphed into adding organisation the following weekend. I don’t mean the organisational methods that suddenly make you a super-efficient, productive machine. One way I complicate things and become disorganised is by over-estimating how much I can fit in to a day, or a morning before I go out. This invariably ends with me being stressed and late – often very late. So I’ve been the trying the simple method of making everything as ready as I possibly can the night before. I know this seems like a ridiculously obvious thing to do, but it’s not something that has been my habit, and I’ve been reluctant to extend my before-bed routine any longer than it already is. However, this attitude has been amazingly successful. I have felt so much calmer before I’ve had to go out. I know that, however many other chores I may or may not get done, I at least won’t have to rush around packing everything I need for the day in my bag. All the little things I do the night before save time and, while I may not always be dead on time, I’ve consistently been leaving at acceptable times.
I’ve found this attitude is changing the way I do my chores, as well. I do tend to start a task and then get things as I need them. This is not a bad method, but I recently I’ve preferred to have everything that I need ready before I start. I’ve also found that I’m multitasking less and trying to finish and properly clean up one task before moving on to the next.
Acceptance and simplicity has also developed into a focus on mindfulness in general. I’ve been particularly trying to practise this when driving, which I’ve had to do a lot of. The lead up to Christmas is definitely the busiest time on the roads, and it’s also the time that I normally feel most distracted. I’m really trying to just concentrate on my driving and not mind if I’m not going quite as fast as I could or if I’m stuck in a slower lane than I’d like. In a way, this is partly an acceptance of failure, because I’m telling myself that it’s alright to get somewhere a little later.
I don’t intend to have a formal drop one/add one for this Christmas weekend. I will be trying to remember all of these things: To organise myself in advance, to not over-complicate things, to remember it’s ok for things not to be perfect and to take a breath remain in the present when I feel my brain getting over-crowded or when I’m rushing too much.
I also wanted to tell you how much I appreciate my readers. When I started this, I thought it was the kind of thing that I would like to read. I didn’t really think that anybody else would by interested in my struggles to get through the day, to pick myself up when down and to work towards a more healthy, productive and positive lifestyle. I have a long way to go, but knowing that there are a few people along for the ride really helps to keep me going.
Whatever you do at Christmastime, I hope that you, too, find some time to take a breath. I hope that you remember to smile at yourself in the mirror and appreciate the grin on your face and the twinkle in your eye. I hope that you know that, whatever else is happening in your life, you have made a difference to mine.